Informing public opinion on NATO – guidelines, ways and means, experiences Erik Baktai Ministry of Foreign Affairs Security Policy Department
Points of Departure • What is the purpose of information? • What are the current views on NATO? • Who to address? • What ways and means to rely on? • The Hungarian experience? • To what extent can the Hungarian experience be relied on?
The purpose: providing objective, factual and authentic information • Authentic information is based on facts. • Facts are the best means to remove misperceptions and prejudices • Avoid any sign of propaganda (whether positive or negative. • Objectivity is required particularly when relationship with and attitude to NATO are unclear
Main NATO-related topics to provide information on • Circumstances, purpose of NATO’s creation, structure; Washington Treaty • Main characteristics, results, ways and means and successes of NATO’s first forty years • NATO’s adaptation to the post-Cold War situation; new challenges, tasks and missions • Establishment and development of partnership with former adversaries and neutrals. • NATO’s enlargement process after Madrid and Prague
Experiences and presentation of the development of Hungarian-NATO relations • NATO-accession as an important element of the reintegration into the Euro-Atlantic community of democratic nations. • Catalyzing role of NATO-accession in the democratic reform process. • Indirect linkage between the processes of NATO and EU enlargement; NATO and EU are not alternatives but mutually complementing elements. • Debates on NATO after the change-result: there is no alternative to NATO/EU-membership. • The impact of the NATO accession process of good-neighbourly relations – catalyzing role. • Hungary and NATO’s further enlargement
Serbia-Montenegro’s neighbours and NATO • Development of relations between neighbours and NATO and their experiences as an example. • The role of relations with NATO in the policies of neighbouring countries (endeavours for Euro-Atlantic integration). • Relations between NATO and FRY’S neighbours – institutional and practical frameworks. • Public opinion of neighbours on NATO; experiences of NATO-related communication, development of p.o.’s attitude
Views on-post Milosevic Yugoslavia/Serbia-Montenegro in NATO as a key element • Reaction of NATO and its members to the democratic changes • Reaction to foreign and internal policy steps by post-Milosevic YU/S-M in NATO and its members • Major elements of the development of NATO-YU/S-M relations (e.g. Foreign Minister Svilanovic’s visit to NATO and participation at the NAC Foreign Ministerial in Budapest). • Perspectives of the Alliance and the development of NATO-YU/S-M (position of NAC and member states).
Frameworks, techniques and means of communicatrion on NATO • Information on NATO in the printed and electronic media • Brochuers (written by domestic and foreign authors) • Open fora, seminars • NATO’S information programs (for various professional groups) • Identification target audiences and specific techniques to appropriately address them
Conclusions • NATO as a durable element of Euro-Atlantic security remains relevant. Awareness and clarification and attitude towards NATO remain essential. • Clarification of relations with NATO is an important element in identifying the main direction of S-M’s Euro-Atlantic integration • Intentions regarding NATO-S-M relations need to be clarified by S-M; public opinion is essential to that end. • Genuine, authentic positions require genuine knowledge of objective facts.